Published: Friday, 26 September 2003 17:58
I don’t have a link to this because the only one that has a permanent link is so full of pablum that it’s supporting the principal on this. Yecch.
A local high school principal has codified in an official internal memo to her teachers something that is simply inexcusable. What makes it appalling is the fact that this has been an unwritten, yet still official, Memphis City Schools policy for some time now. By putting this into a written memo, she has given the local media and outraged parents something to hang their hats on.
This principal made sure that the teachers knew that they were to give grades no lower than a C to students.
This absolutely screams “Liberal” to me.
“Let’s not bruise their self-esteem by holding them back. We need to keep them with their peer group.”
I think their little ego needs a dropkick if they won’t do the work. I would rather kick an 18 year old 8th grader out of school than give them a diploma and let them think they actually deserve it.
“Don’t worry, they’ll understand the material and catch up in the next grade.”
Each grade builds upon the prior grade and gets harder as you go along. What makes you think someone who hasn’t done the work one grade will suddenly turn around and do basically two grades at once?
“The entire system would be wrecked if we held back everybody who didn’t pass.”
If the system isn’t working, a new system needs to be tried and tried again until a workable solution has been found.
“I don’t want to fail those gang-bangers. They’ll kill me for failing them.”
This one I can believe. But that’s not a very Enlightened kind of thought.
A proposal surfaced in the School Board a couple of weeks ago to fire all of the teachers and administrators at the worst failing schools, then retest them before hiring them back. It of course was opposed by the teachers union, as well as the Mayor of Memphis, who used to be the School Superintendent. The proposal went down in flames, but may come back as something else. Time will tell.
I am allergic to knee-jerk ideas. While this idea sounds good on the surface, it is only part of the problem. Teachers should be tested annually to make sure they have the knowledge to teach the material. They should receive training annually on how to teach. Nothing closes minds as quickly as material presented by Ben Stein.
Parents and the students themselves also need to take the blame on this as well. Parents are the key motivator for the students. No motivation at home, no motivation at school. Also, you can have the best teachers on the planet, but if the kids don’t want to learn, nothing is going to change that. Consequences need to be made clear and then carried out if the work isn’t done. If you don’t follow through, you have all of the credibility of the United Nations.
While there are no simple answers, the first change must come from the school system. Once they regain the focus of actually teaching the students and not supporting false self-esteem, three-quarters of the problem will be solved.